The Power Of A Selfie

11/08/2019


After my recent separation with social media, I've stopped doing so many things that I used to do daily. Such as, taking a selfie. I may not of posted my face every single day, but I was in a long distanced relationship for roughly 3 years and that amounted to a decent amount of photo shares. Unlike those of us who take a photo and instantly send it to their spouse, it would take me a multitude of shots to even be halfway happy with a photo. When it come to an Instagram selfie? Hours. I wish I was lying or exaggerating with that, but I'm not. I would literally stand or sit there for hours, moving around the house to find the best lightening, taking snap after snap and critiquing my face until it was a giant round sphere of ugliness to me. My back would ache, I would redo my hair a million times. And even though I knew nobody cared, it meant enough to me that I did, to put myself through that ridiculousness.

But I forgot.

Over the past year or so, I have gained a bit of weight. Nothing overly noticeable, just known to me. My chest and hips have expanded since being in a full-time relationship and that's normal. I've started eating at least two meals a day, sometimes three, and that's become known to my body. I'd be lying if I said I liked or accepted it, but I can acknowledge that it's healthy. That it's normal to eat the amount I do and not overwork myself come nightfall to try and 'shred' the calories I digested. Alas, it's been hard. As someone with BDD and with an eating disorder past, it can be overwhelming. So as you can probably image, the break from social media did me both good and terrible. It took me out of this world that pushes perfection and defined abs, but I've grown out of the habit of photo taking, I can no longer stomach the face that stares back at me in photos. And worse than that, I've forgotten my own past.

I was recently going through old photos and I came across my 'selfie' folder that I kept for profile uses. And the girl I saw looking back at me seemed to be natural in front of the camera. Her cheeks were sculpted, her collar-bone visible, her hair swept nicely. I then looked in the mirror and felt sick. I had changed too much. But after a few days of dark twisty thoughts and rabbit holes filled with memories, I realise that that folder may as well be photoshopped. And the ironic thing? Every single photo I hated when I took it. There wasn't one I thought flattering or 'pretty'. My stomach curdled with horror whenever I posted one as I felt ugly.

It's funny, I used to pride myself on not editing my Instagram selfies as that would be 'unhealthy body image', but spending hours trying to get an angle that doesn't make you loathe yourself is a form of editing. You aren't being yourself as you're trying to mould your image into something that you like. I'd say that I wish I could go back and say this to my past self, but I know that wouldn't change a thing. The thing about dealing with self imagery problems like this, is that it's entirely self controlled. It can't be helped until you choose to see it through a clear glassed window. It's little problems that you may not even bring up with a therapist as it seems silly and 'normal' to us.

The other ironic thing is that the photos I prefer of myself are the ones that I panic took and sent to my partner or best friend as my smile or funny face actually seems authentic to me. Selfies are in the face, not the body. So why did I suck my stomach in for every selfie?

The entire purpose of this post is, I guess, to hopefully aid in you either reevaluating your method of taking photos, make you feel not so alone, or to help you see me as a crazy person. All or nothing, people. What are your honest thoughts toward selfies?

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